Growing your own root veggies indoors is a great way to have a fresh supply of produce throughout the year – no matter what the weather’s doing outside!
But, indoor gardening is more than simply placing a seed in a pot.
There are important considerations to make, including which root veggies to grow indoors.
In this post, we’ll take a look at 7 good candidates, along with some of the pros and cons and tips for growing root vegetables indoors.
Can You Grow Root Vegetables Indoors?
Root vegetables can absolutely be grown indoors!
But, there are both advantages and considerations to keep in mind. Let’s take a look.
- Temperature & Environment: With indoor gardening, you control the temperature and environment. This lets you provide optimal conditions for your plant’s growth. And that results in healthier and more productive root veggies.
- Less Chance of Pests: Indoor environments have fewer pest issues – including 4-legged pests – than outdoor gardens.
- Accessibility: Indoor gardens are easily accessible. There’s no need to trudge out into the elements to care for your garden. Plus, you have greater versatility in the design and placement of your indoor garden.
- Fresh Veggies Throughout the Year: Growing indoors allows you to enjoy fresh vegetables even when they’re out of season.
- Space Constraints: Limited space can be the biggest drawback to indoor gardening. Some root vegetables need larger containers, and this can take up considerable space.
- Proper Setup: Setting up the right conditions for indoor gardening, requires some planning and effort. This includes choosing proper containers, lighting, and soil.
- Slower Growth: While indoor-grown root vegetables can thrive, they might grow at a slightly slower pace compared to their outdoor counterparts.
7 Root Vegetables to Grow Indoors
Tip: When choosing root veggies to grow indoors, opt for dwarf or smaller varieties to make the most of your indoor space.
Carrots are one of the easiest root vegetables to grow indoors. Choose shorter carrot varieties and use containers that are 8-12 inches deep. The depth of the container should match the length of the carrot variety you select.
Variety options include:
- Little Fingers
- Mokum Baby Carrots
Beets not only have edible roots, but they provide flavorful greens as well. You can successfully grow them indoors, just keep in mind you’ll need a larger container. Preferably one 18 inches or deeper. And they’ll need 6-8 hours of direct light daily.
Consider these varieties:
- Red Ace Hybrid
- Moulin Rouge
- Detroit Dark Red
Green onions or scallions are commonly grown indoors, but certain bulb onion varieties can also thrive in containers.
Green onions make a great option because they’re smaller, and you can snip off the green shoots or eat the whole plant. For green onions, a 6-inch deep container is sufficient.
Bulb onions need greater width – aim for 2-3 inches per plant. Too, bulb onion varieties are considered to be long, short, or neutral day, depending on their light need. Pick one that will suit your environment’s light.
Good onion options include:
- Red Creole
- Walla Walla
Garlic is considered either softneck or hardneck. Both varieties can grow indoors, but softneck varieties often perform better. A 6-inch deep pot is ideal for garlic. And your garlic will need 6-8 hours of sunlight daily.
Consider these varieties:
- Chilean Silverskin
- California Early
- Artichoke Garlic
Radishes are quick-growing and well-suited for indoor containers. Choose a wide, shallow pot with a depth of about 6 inches. This will vary a little based on the specific radish variety you choose.
Good radish varieties include:
- Cherry Belle
- Early Scarlett Globe
- French Breakfast
Potatoes can be grown in large containers or potato bags or grow bags indoors. They need room and the container must hold at least 2.5 gallons of soil.
Varieties to consider are:
- Petite Potato
- Adirondack Blue
- French Fingerlings
Like beets, turnips offer both tender roots and nutritious greens. Grow them indoors in a pot 8 inches or deeper. With turnips, make sure to space the plants 4 inches apart.
Consider these turnip varieties:
- Scarlett Queen
- White Knight
- Golden Bal
Tips for Successfully Growing Root Vegetables Indoors
1. Choose the Right Container
When choosing a container, consider the depth, drainage, and space availability.
The container should match your veggie’s needs. For example, a radish can get away with a shallow pot, but a potato can’t.
And it’s not just depth, it’s also width. Consider how far apart your plants need to be once fully grown.
Next, there’s drainage. Your pot must have good drainage because you don’t want your root veggies sitting in a pool of soggy soil. On the other hand, you don’t want water draining out of the pot onto the floor.
This means you’ll need trays or saucers for under your pots. Or you can choose a pot with a built-in saucer. I’ve written an article on choosing the right pot that will help give you some ideas.
2. Selecting the Right Soil
Root veggies need loose, well-draining soil, meant for containers. Ideally, it’ll be rich in organic matter, such as peat moss or coconut coir, have perlite or vermiculite for aeration, and compost for nutrients.
Be cautious with heavy garden soils.
This is especially important for root vegetables. Dense soils can result in misshapen and stunted vegetables.
3. Watering Your Indoor Root Veggies
Your indoor veggies will need more water than your houseplants, but less than veggies growing outdoors in containers.
Indoor veggies aren’t exposed to wind and sun, which can quickly dry soil. However, keep in mind, potted plants dry out faster than in-ground plants. Water is a balancing act.
Tip: planting in larger containers will help retain water because your veggie won’t use up all the moisture as quickly.
A good rule of thumb is to water when the top 1-2 inches are dry. And don’t use tap water if you have a softening system or very hard water.
4. Light Needs of Indoor Veggies
Indoors, lighting can be one of the biggest challenges.
While root veggies need less light than other plants, they still require 4-8 hours of light daily.
South or west-facing windows are ideal, but even still, a grow light will likely be needed. Especially in winter or northern climates.
5. Fertilizing Indoor Root Vegetables
Go ahead and fertilize your veggies throughout the growing season. Kelp and fish-based fertilizers, or worm castings are good options.
As with any plant, follow the product’s instructions and use no more than recommended. In fact, when it comes to fertilizing, you can usually get away with less. Especially if you’ve started with a solid foundation of good, rich soil.
6. Maintaining an Indoor Garden
Luckily, indoors there’s less chance of pests – both of the insect and four-legged variety!
Still, monitor your plant’s health. Ensure proper air circulation, water, and adjust light exposure as necessary.
6. Harvest Often
Harvest when your vegetables are ready. When pulling your plant, be careful so you’re not spilling soil all over the place.
Tip: Choose every second veggie. This provides extra room for the remaining ones.
Since you’re indoors, you can restart the seeding process after harvesting for a consistent supply of root veggies.
Troubleshooting Common Challenges
- Leggy growth: This can be your biggest challenge. When a plant doesn’t get enough light, it’ll stretch toward a light source. For leggy plants, adjust the light placement and consider a grow light.
- Temperature extremes: Keep plants away from cold drafts and heat vents.
- Air circulation: Ensure good airflow to prevent mold and fungus. In other words, don’t crowd your root vegetables.
If you’re intrigued by the idea of growing your own root vegetables indoors, these tips and insights can set you on the path to success.
And if you’ve enjoyed this post on root vegetables to grow indoors, and found it helpful, feel free to share it.